Sunday, November 4, 2007

Lofty Wishes for a swank Teepee…

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Yesterday I had an appointment with a realtor to see a unique set of properties for sale in my neighborhood. 

Approximately 4 blocks from my apartment, the former local high school (which has been shut down for a couple decades) has been converted into 18 'upscale' lofts.  

 

I liked what I saw--but I'm pretty sure it's not going to happen.

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Bellevue High School (during the rebuild, around May 2007)

 

 

I'd actually been there once before--around 6 months ago they held an 'Open House' on one of their first remodeled units, but at 235K I knew it was out of my price range.   (Here is the original open house model below, a two bedroom with maple kitchen.)

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I still left my name as a possible interested buyer, though.  And now the renovations for the entire building are just about completed.

Three years ago, when I heard the news that someone had bought the property to convert it to lofts, I admit I was pretty excited.  As a single person, I've just never had a lot of interest in owning a traditional home.  And to be honest, I genuinely like 'apartment living'.  (At the same time though, I wouldn't mind having an extra bedroom to use as an office, & my own washer/dryer hookup.)

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My own place may be small, but it's a secured building on a quiet street; and I have a nice balcony with a 'backyard view' of the neighborhood.

 

But my bus goes past that school every night on the way home from work, so earlier this week when I received a call from the company asking if I'd like to make an appointment for a private showing, I said yes.

rd

 

Doug, I guess you know there's been a downward trend in the realty market recently, & banks are being more particular with mortgage loans.  We're only arranging to meet buyers that have been preapproved.  I just need your permission to let me make this determination. 

 

Uh...sure. 

 

Doug, wonderful news!  You've been pre-approved for a mortgage loan up to 225K.  You have a superb credit rating, a healthy 401K & savings account, a car that's paid off & no debt!   I think we need to meet right away; how's this weekend look for you?

  

What bank would loan me 225K?  I mean--yes, of course.  How about Saturday afternoon?

 

   

Now there is NO WAY I could afford that type of loan with a salary under 55K, but I said sure, what the heck.  Helen (the agent) said she'd be happy to show me all the available units (5 of the 18 have already been sold) but she'd prefer to focus on the 'median-priced' lofts.   (They have several at 210-235K, four at around 350-400K--haha! & a couple of VERY small studios at 165K which simply aren't worth it, IMO.)

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Thru the main entrance, the inside of the school has also been immaculately restored, with dark oak staircases that lead to each unit

 

 

I was shown Unit #307, which I admit I just loved.  Six tall windows & a large open kitchen on the first level, with a winding metal staircase which led upstairs to an 'open area'  bedroom & study.  There's also a nice sized bath and a walk in closet.  (Another bathroom is downstairs.)   This is the floorplans for unit 307; the second diagram shows the mezzanine loft.

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                   And here are some pics of the kitchen, windows & bath:

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rd2

I think you'll appreciate these ceilings--they're over 20 feet high!  And just imagine the entertaining you can do here; do you do a lot of entertaining, Douglas?

 

 

Er...so I wonder how high the heating bills are going to be?  

  

 

Well, of course they're going to run a bit higher than your typical home.  But that's why they invented electric blankets--and cuddling!  

 

 

uh-huh...so what's the property tax on this, anyway?

 

 

I don't mean to be rude, but I was actually trying to reason out the finances in my head during her sales pitch.  I genuinely loved the place...but eventually, I had to let reality set in.  

  • The price is 230K, firm.  No negotiations.
  • Property tax is PROJECTED to be 3500.00 per year (could be higher).
  • 'Grounds fee' is $200.00 a month.  (Covered parking is extra.)
  • (So in other words, the property tax & monthly 'grounds fee' alone equal what I'm already paying for my apartment.  I'll need an additional 14,000 per year just for the mortgage; and that's after I hand over most of my savings for the down payment.)   Rats.

    I just had one more question; what do those 370K units look like, anyway?  

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    A pretty swanky kitchen, a personal library that looks like a 19th century gentleman's club, and yep--a private elevator to underground parking and your very own wine cellar—I would’ve settled for much less, you know.

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